..and then step right in to your supermarket. Don’t stop to think twice, it’ll cost you either a pretty penny, your health, or your conscience.
So, the other night I had an hour to kill between fetching and carrying children from here to there and decided to spend it peacefully exploring the largest supermarket in town. Aren’t we lucky to have such a place? I can tell you it’s a wonderful experience wanting only one item but having oodles of time in which to get it. After finding what I needed I spent the rest of the time perusing the aisles discovering what it is other people love to bring home.
I usually buy my groceries in a cheap German store where there are so few brand choices, mentally not much is required of me and all I need to decide is whether it’s cheaper to buy the chopped or whole tinned tomatoes. It’s even quite exciting to see what the special buys are of the week as you never know when you may need a pump for your car tyres or a knitted jersey dress in one of three colours. I’ve put my finger on why it is one’s irritability levels subtley rise when having to fill a trolley with produce in any supermarket as large as the one I was in that night. There is simply too much to choose from and we are spoilt for choice. You end up spending more than you meant to as well. Oh yes, and its takes aaaayges to find your way from the entrance back to the tills.
Our cavemen forebears had no choices about ethical/local produce/health food shopping, they didn’t know how lucky they had it. What did they care for carbon footprinting and organic or seasonal ingredients? Shopping is meant to be way easier for the modern housewife but it’s very tricky when wearing blinkers. This is what I’d recommend:
- Do not take a second glance at the Fairtrade labelled products for fear of having to pay extra, or worse, having to consider that others may be disadvantaged though your shopping choices. Keep your eyes averted and skim over to the neighbour product which will cost you far less.
- Just one particular aisle, if you are unlucky (lucky is if it’s just a tiny section of an obscure aisle which, not even somebody working in the shop will know where to find) will be proudly bannered ‘Health Food’. So, could the rest of the supermarket, all other eight aisles where the majority of people shop, technically be displayed as ‘Unhealth Food, Illness Food or Sickness Food’? Hard to decide which label would stick. Look, how seriously do you take your health? (Really, to be ultra concerned for those who’d like to live for ever, there ought to be table manned by Christians with ‘Eternal Life Food’: get your Bread of Life (John 6) and Living Water (John 4), for free.)
- The ‘Free From’ section should be avoided at all costs as the main ingredients missing here are sugar and wheat. More like Free From Fun. Definitely Free From Money after shopping here. (I spotted some interesting looking wraps made from quinoa and chia and other ingredients with exotic birdy sounding names. They reminded me of those balls you hang in your garden in the winter time to help our feathered friends along a bit, perhaps after having been flattened by an SUV – the ball, not the bird. I worked out that one wrap here would the same as a packet of six in the deadly ‘Ordinary Bread’ section).
- Beware of food containing Chia! Apparently it is the food of the ancient Aztecs and just would you look at what happened to them? If any were alive today they definitely would be ancient I suppose, to be fair maybe the stuff really works – we just don’t know it.
- Shopping for your baby is fraught with difficulties. It’s a good thing the writing is so tiny under the list of ingredients, who wants to know what manner of nasties is being included in baby food these days? It’s hard enough being a parent! And those baby wipes containing alcohol could be handy for some truely desperate folk.
- As a final insult, sadly don’t count on there being chocolate bars at the check out anymore. It is profoundly disapointing not to be able to reward oneself at the last minute. After all the stress of shopping avoidance who on earth would want a health bar or trail mix? All I can say is how thoughtful they are in my personal favourite supermarket that they have brought out dinky bottles of wine and cans of G’nT within an arm’s reach of the tills. Who needs chocolate then? Definitely not harassed housewives with nothing better to do than to bring the shopping home.